Get excited, everybody, because Moldova National Wine Days are here! Every year, on the first weekend of October, wineries throughout Moldova fling open their doors and host tastings, master classes, food and wine pairing events and more. It has become a national festival of Moldovan wines and while this year – the 19th annual Moldova Wine Days – is a little different (#stupidcovid), the good news is that it is going international!
There is a major online webinar and tasting on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 11 a.m. Chicago time, hosted by Jamie Goode, international wine expert and prolific author, and Michelle Williams, of Rockin’ Red Blog and Forbes contributor. If you want to sign up, register here for free. And the fabulous folks at VinConnexion (a France-based press agency) have engaged the new World Wine Travel blog group with more delicious samples. We’ll be gabbing on Twitter on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 11 a.m. Chicago time, learning more about these beautiful wines. (Use #WorldWineTravel on Twitter and join us!)
You might remember I wrote about Moldovan wines in July with the Wine Pairing Weekend blog group. Having tasted these newest bottles, I will stake my wineglass on this: Moldova is the next Georgia, when it comes to wine regions on the rise. Come on – I have some fun new wines to share with you!
Castel Mimi Feteasca Alba 2018 This is a glorious white wine made from the Feteasca Albã grape, which has been cultivated for centuries in Moldova. If you like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio – lighter-bodied white wines with nice, zingy acidity – you will love this one. You’re going to get a nice gush of pear, followed by peaches and some lovely floral notes.
Castel Mimi is quite historic and well over 100 years old. It is located about 45 minutes from Moldova’s capital city of Chisnāu (which is located smack in the center of the country). I haven’t been to Moldova – yet – but judging from Castel Mimi’s website, it is quite the tourist destination, with a resort, a swish-looking restaurant, fancy gardens – the works!
I paired it with vegetable fried rice, which was a surprisingly delicious pairing! The rice dish had a nice gingery/garlicky bite to it with fresh green vegetables in and the two made fast friends! (I adapted this salmon fried rice recipe from Bon Appetit magazine, subbing in broccoli, asparagus and water chestnuts in place of the salmon.)
Suvorov-Vin Viorica 2018 This is a glorious white wine and I was elated to see another bottle, because I loved it when I first tasted it in June! The grape is called Viorica and it is a cross between Seibel and Aleatico that was developed in 1969 to withstand cold weather. The wine is busting loose with lime and lemon curd, honey, peaches, ripe cantaloupe – it’s a freaking cornucopia of fruity freshness in a bottle. But it is a dry wine – let me be clear on that. And has a nice creamy texture. I adore it and it clocks in at $9.99 – WHAT? Talk about over-delivering on quality for the price!
Purcari Rosu de Purcari 2015 This sexy minx of a red is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Malbec. The wine immediately unleashes aromas of bramble berry, spices, dried herbs and dried violets. The first sip made me a fan and I was immediately worried that I would finish the whole bottle in one sitting – that’s how delicious it is! It has well-integrated tannins and is perfectly balanced between fruit, earth, alcohol and freshness, with a peppery finish. I loved it! I would drink this with mushroom dishes, red meat or pulled pork with barbecue sauce.
Except I didn’t have any of those things! I had left-over chicken Parmegiana and it was actually kind of perfect with the wine!
Radacini 2018 This fun little blend of 70% Saperavi, 20% Feteasca Neagra and 10% Merlot is a real beauty. Aromas of bramble berry, blueberry, cranberry and cake frosting (mmm hmmm) hit me before the fresh n’ fruity black and blueberries and cherries tumbled onto my tongue. There is great structure to this wine and excellent freshness. It leans lighter, rather than heavier – so I would not pair it with beef, but it would cozy right up to a plate of lamb or venison, or pork tenderloin, or hearty vegetarian dishes like lentil stew. Mmmm.
I’ve just been so gobsmacked by the quality of the wines coming out of Moldova. I’ve tasted quite a few wines from Georgia (southeast of Moldova, more in the Caucasus region) and they have a totally different style – more rustic, earthier. Moldova is making wines that wow for sophisticated wine drinkers across Europe – and now the U.S. It’s worth asking your wine shop if they can bring these in for purchase. (Share the Wines of Moldova USA website with your wine shop.) Thank you again VinConnexion for the samples – it is so much fun trying well-made wines from far-away lands!
On top of the quality of the wines, Moldova is really stepping it up with the tourism programs and marketing materials. Moldova’s wines have, in fact, won 740 medals and international wine competition over the last decade, from big fish like Decanter’s World Wine Awards, Mundus Vini, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles and others. Moldova wines are now sold in 63 countries!
Written by Liz Barrett